Below is a great question fro Yahoo! Answers that has lots of different answers, depending on what kind of recording you want to do. The one answer posted was pretty specific, which isn’t all that helpful if you ask me. See below for the HBA answer.
Q: We got a quote once from a business that offered a full home recording studio package that included a desktop computer and can’t remember where it was! Can you help?
A: Pro Audio Solutions has packages. Look:
http://www.proaudiosolutions.com/Turnkey-Computer-Audio-Systems-s/5.htm (editors note: VERY expensive. See below)
The Home Brew Audio Answer:
The option in the given answer above takes you to a site where full systems cost a minimum of $2,000! That’s 2 grand! two-large! While that would certainly buy some great stuff, it’s pretty steep. Check out the options below.
The only reason to buy a full package is for convenience, and if it’s cheaper than buying all the parts separately, price. Otherwise you would be better off buying each part on its own. The reason is that there are so many different kinds of recording (voiceover, podcasting, electronic music, acoustic music, etc.) that a “package” could very well give you more than you need, not to mention COST more than you should pay.
So here are a few options, along with prices. If you have a new (or new-ish…say less than a year old, you can use your existing computer and subtract $500 from the total estimate at the end!):
For folks just needing to record voice narration (perhaps for video, podcasting, voice over work, audio books, pre-produced music for background, etc.) all you need is a USB mic and any basic computer made in the last 5-10 years. You will also need some headphones. If you end up buying a new computer, you’re pretty-much guaranteed that it will be sufficient due to the power of the average pc these days. Having just bought a new desktop system for my son, I know you can get all the computer you need for about $500. Good quality USB mics start at about $50. Recording software starts at FREE. The open-source Audacity will do both multitrack recording, mixing and editing. A decent pair of headphones you can get for about $15. Total price for a new pc recording studio package mainly for voice narration – $565 ($65 w/out the computer)
If you will be recording music, you’ll need a few things in addition to the above, namely an interface box so you can plug in bass and electric guitars, as well as microphones. These start at around $75. You’ll probably also need a microphone stand for about $30. You’ll also need more recording capability than Audacity can give you, namely midi/virtual instrument functionality. I recommend Reaper, by Cockos, which has a 30-day trial that will never cease to work (see the article Why Reaper Rocks as a DAW). The license then is only $40! And trust me when I say that this is one unbelievable value. Audacity can still be your audio editor for the great price of FREE. Total price for a full home recording studio package (new PC included) you can use for recording music – $700 ($200 without the computer).
You can get all the stuff I mentioned (though for the computer I recommend your local electronics/computer store) from B&H Pro Audio.